Morning Links

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010
Digg it |  reddit |  del.icio.us |  Fark

90 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  John Anderson | 

    “Those of you who condemned all of Africa for its backwardness in the comments thread to that post might take note that the occasion for the article was Ukpabio being invited to speak at a Christian revival in Houston.”

    ZING! Well-played, Mr. Balko.

  2. #2 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    1) I didn’t know states could deny US citizenship.

    2) The rafter story is bizarre, but not shocking. What is even more bizarre are the comments on the story.

  3. #3 |  Bill | 

    Sarah Palin once received a blessing from a popular witch hunter from Africa.

  4. #4 |  MassHole | 

    Scientologists must be the dumbest people on the planet. What kind of moron turns their 12 yr old daughter over to any church? Much less L. Ron’s pile of bullshit.

  5. #5 |  jppatter | 

    1) I didn’t know states could deny US citizenship.

    They can’t. That is one of the enumerated powers expressly given to Congress by the Constitution. Which makes this new proposed AZ law even more ridiculous than the first one.

    That said, if Congress wanted to look at changing the national rules concerning “citizenship by birth” for anyone and everyone, that would be constitutional. Not advocating one way or the other, just saying it would be constitutional.

  6. #6 |  Ahcuah | 

    From the Arizona article:

    “If you go back to the original intent of the drafters … it was never intended to bestow citizenship upon (illegal) aliens,” said Kavanagh.

    If you go back to the original intent of the drafters, I’m not sure the concept of “illegal alien” even existed. It was only much later that we started putting restrictions on immigration.

  7. #7 |  J sub D | 

    It’s not about who is in charge. It’s about the safety of a 13-year-old girl. You are going to do everything in your power to insure the safety of your guest, and if that means in Idaho Springs you get arrested, well I guess we’ll just get arrested.”

    If we have trained non-governmental folks going about and rescuing people willy nilly, the society would descend into anarchy. Anarchy, I tell you. We’d be just like Somalia. Do you want to live like the Somalians?

  8. #8 |  dave smith | 

    The rhetoric of the anti immigration folks proves that there is no consistent principle. If they read the 2nd amendment the way they reading the 14th, they’d all only have flintlocks.

  9. #9 |  J sub D | 

    Investigation into Scientology’s practice of forcing members to have abortions.

    Tom Cruise (idiot) and John Travolta (moron) could not be reached for comment.

    A young man who worked for me got sucked into the fucking cult. Yeah, he was pretty much a loser beforehand but became dysfunctional on the job within weeks. Scientologista are deluded assholes, they destroy people lives for profit. I wish nothing but harm to each and every cult member. If they ever decide to do a Jim Jones, I’ll supply the Kool-Aid®.

  10. #10 |  Gavin | 

    @jppatter,

    Of course congress can change the rules of citizenship. Many such changes would be constitutional. However, they probably can’t change it so that the children of illegal immigrants are not citizens; the 14th amendment and jurisprudence on it are a real bitch.

  11. #11 |  Chris Mallory | 

    #8

    What in the word “arms” implies only flintlocks? How has the meaning of “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” changed in the past 140 years or so?

  12. #12 |  Jim Collins | 

    The article on Prohabition says what I have known for years. You have the drug pushers on one side and the drug fighters on the other. Both sides own Congresscritters and both sides need each other. The drug fighters make drugs more profitable for the drug dealers by eliminating some of the competition and causing the perception of risk and scarcity, thus raising the price. The drug fighters need the the drug pushers in order to justify their budgets and authority. If either side were to quit, the other side would collapse. In the late 80′s Lockheed kept itself afloat financially by modifying aircraft to be used in the “drug war”. They made political contributions to any politician who would go on record as being against drugs.

  13. #13 |  Mike Leatherwood | 

    Thetans, Holy Ghosts, Invisible men, social burning bushes, etc are all bullshit-on-a-stick, IMHO. Carlin had it right: Worship the sun and pray to Joe Pesci.

  14. #14 |  Pablo | 

    That is one of the best articles on Islamic terrorists I’ve read in a long time. I’ve always thought they were closer to idiots than to well trained, smart opponents (though as the article notes there are exceptions). When that car bomb didn’t go off, and that idiot set his crotch on fire, I figured that if that’s the best they can do then I’m not shitting my pants over this, which is what the government wants.

  15. #15 |  jppatter | 

    @#14

    Yeah, it would be nice if the “land of the free, home of the brave” didn’t collectively wet its pants every time some moron with a lighter or a webcam said “boo!”.

  16. #16 |  Mario | 

    Arizona may have found a way of protesting against lax immigration enforcement by the federal government that doesn’t conflict with the Constitution. They are not denying anyone citizenship; they are simply refusing to issue birth certificates to children whose parents are not legal aliens.

    I’m not a lawyer. Are they required to issue birth certificates?

  17. #17 |  shecky | 

    I’ve wondered for a long time now if Islamist terrorists pretty much blew their wad in 9/11? It seems it may have taken their best and brightest to pull it off.

  18. #18 |  Chuchundra | 

    I’m pretty sure that a denial of a birth certificate would be unconstitutional with respect to the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.

    As far as “original intent” goes, the concept of an “illegal” immigrant would be only slightly less incomprehensible to the founding fathers than the concept of internet porn.

  19. #19 |  Big Texan | 

    I’m not sure how a rational, logical person could read the Scientology article and then read about the Witch hunter and still conclude we were so much more advanced. Of course, I’ve found the rational thought and logic are in such short supply as to be pathetic. If anything, reading this site and others like it, have shown me we are pretty much exactly like we were 500 years ago. Maybe a little more polish on the surface, due process and habeus corpus, and all that; but still the same base.

  20. #20 |  Big Texan | 

    About the Arizona law. This is why I have come to loathe the right almost as much as I do the left. If the right had been as much of a defender of the other amendments as much as they are of the second we wouldn’t have the problems we do today. I’ve come to realize the right wants big government as much as the left does, just in different areas. I swear I’ve seen a couple of them piss themselves out of fear. Which is probably why they are so dangerous right now. That level of fear demands action and this is an example of the bad law fear produces.

  21. #21 |  Aresen | 

    From the Prohibition article:

    American history is pocked by utopian movements that prefer glib wishful thinking over a hard scrutiny of reality, but they inevitably crest and crash in the end.

    Unfortunately, the belief that we can spend our way out of a recession seems as firmly rooted as ever.

  22. #22 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Those of you who condemned all of Africa for its backwardness in the comments thread to that post might take note that the occasion for the article was Ukpabio being invited to speak at a Christian revival in Houston.

    I just went back and re-read that thread and in fairness to your commenters (which, full disclosure, included me) there was really only one person condemning Africa for its backwardness and I don’t believe I’ve come across said commenter before or since. That being said, given that the Houston church to which you refer is run by a Nigerian-born pastor, I’m not sure the story would change the commenter’s beliefs about Africa, misguided as they may be.

  23. #23 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Prohibition.
    “If either side were to quit, the other side would collapse.”
    Yup.
    Paradoxically, tragically, once they call it a “war” they immortalize it, rather than solve it. The people who planned it knew there was a ton of money to be made, such as the US Prison-industrial complex; the number of (US) incarcerated exploded from 200,000 to 2 million in just 30 years.
    http://www.tremblethedevil.com/wp-content/uploads/RawPrisonData11.jpg
    Also turned State Parks into booby-trapped pot farms.

  24. #24 |  Mattocracy | 

    Scientology makes it very hard to respect religious freedom. They are violating the civil rights of their members on a regular basis. Even more so, they vicously attack anyone who criticizes them in anyway.

  25. #25 |  Salvo | 

    #16

    Yes, it would be illegal. Equal protection and all. If they issue birth certificates to some citizens, they have to issue them to all citizens. End of story.

  26. #26 |  Aresen | 

    Re: Scientology

    I find the notion that Tom Cruise is controlled by a being from a volcano as plausible as any other explanation for his behavior.

  27. #27 |  Mike T | 

    “if a child under the age of 2 screams in the night, cries and is always feverish with deteriorating health, he or she is a servant of Satan.”

    And people wonder why the Catholic Church used to burn heretics…

  28. #28 |  Aresen | 

    William Kristol on war with Iran: “Would it be so dangerous?”

    Who could possibly think that a state that willingly sacrificed 1,000,000 men fighting Saddam Hussein and will soon have nukes would be dangerous? I mean, they’d welcome us as liberators!

  29. #29 |  Dave Krueger | 

    From the Bill Kristol article:

    Some in Washington seem resigned to letting Israel take action. But a U.S. failure to act in response to what is perhaps the greatest threat to American interests in decades would be irresponsible. Israel, moreover, lacks our full capabilities to do the job.

    American interests? What interests? That tiny little strip of Mediterranean beachfront property is of zero strategic interest to anyone. Anyone! Furthermore, it’s sole function seems to be to generate heat, friction, and sparks in part of the world that rightly sees it as an occupying force with no legitimate claim to the land, backed up the world’s only remaining superpower bully.

    Although, I have to admit, since the U.S. apparently feels compelled to make enemies out of as many foreign powers as it possibly can, protecting Israel certainly makes that easier.

  30. #30 |  JS | 

    Dave Krueger “American interests? What interests? That tiny little strip of Mediterranean beachfront property is of zero strategic interest to anyone.”

    That’s the thing that amazes me, how the public just swallows it every damn time our government wants to get involved somewhere they just trot out that magic phrase “strategic interest” and no one seems to challenge them on that point. Is every damn thing in the universe vital to our strategic interests?

  31. #31 |  Charlie O | 

    @29. Hallellujah. If I could hit the thumbs up 100 times I would. You are 100% correct my friend. I agree wholeheartedly.

  32. #32 |  johnny b | 

    Crazy african witch hunter speaks in the usa, is roundly condemned for it, shunned, and treated as the lunatic she is by the press as her speech draws only a couple dozen wackos to a lunch buffet at the holiday inn express.

    Crazy african witch hunter speaks in nigeria and is given the celebrity treatment by the press, attended by actors and govt officials and other famous people, and sells thousands of books and dvds to the public.

    There’s your difference.

  33. #33 |  Samk | 

    Well…keeping the region marginally destabilized without a full-blown war might make it easier to maintain a degree of control over the resources…maybe?

  34. #34 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “Those of you who condemned all of Africa for its backwardness in the comments thread to that post might take note that the occasion for the article was Ukpabio being invited to speak at a Christian revival in Houston.”

    Well, I didn’t. But African backwardness and American Christian backwardness can exist independently of each other, and deserve equal condemnation.

  35. #35 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “Sad dog blogging: New York City’s shelter dogs.”

    Thanks for highlighting this, a tragedy 10,000x greater than puppycide.

  36. #36 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #29 | Dave Krueger — “Furthermore, it’s sole function seems to be to generate heat, friction, and sparks in part of the world that rightly sees it as an occupying force with no legitimate claim to the land, backed up the world’s only remaining superpower bully.”

    Divide and conquer, my man, divide and conquer.

  37. #37 |  Cyto | 

    Quote of the day from the rafting article:

    ” It’s not about who is in charge. It’s about the safety of a 13-year-old girl. You are going to do everything in your power to insure the safety of your guest, and if that means in Idaho Springs you get arrested, well I guess we’ll just get arrested.”

    Couldn’t have been put better!

  38. #38 |  Bob | 

    I would think that Christians everywhere believe in Satan’s ability to possess children.

    Why wouldn’t they? I mean, that’s how it works. You have a ‘god’, and you have a ‘devil’. You can’t believe in one without believing in the other. It says right in the Gospels that Jesus himself was tempted by Satan for over a month. It’s pretty straight forward, you believe in this shit or you don’t.

    As such, I would consider it perfectly normal behavior for Christians to believe that children are possessed by Satan.

    Here’s my favorite part of the article:

    “Do you think Harry Potter is real?” Ms. Ukpabio asked me angrily, in the lobby of the Holiday Inn Express where she was staying. “It is only because I am African,” she said, that people who understand that J. K. Rowling writes fiction would take literally Ms. Ukpabio’s filmic depictions of possessed children, gathering by moonlight to devour human flesh.

    Oh, rest assured. I understand what the woman writes is just as fictional as that produced by J.K. Rowling. And oddly, so does she at some level. Which makes her delusional, insane, or a con artist. Personally I lean to ‘delusional’ with a side of ‘con artist’.

    She is not unique in this, there are people walking around that are convinced that they are ‘psychic’ or have ‘psychic powers’ and that honestly believe that they really do.

  39. #39 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #34 Cynical in CA

    “Sad dog blogging: New York City’s shelter dogs.”

    Thanks for highlighting this, a tragedy 10,000x greater than puppycide.

    In terms of numbers, that’s true. But, when the animal shelter executes dogs, it’s because they have no choice. Those dogs are unwanted and have no home.

    When a cop executes a dog, he is intentionally killing a dog that is wanted and does have a home. It’s not a matter of necessity. It’s to satisfy an irresistible craving to exercise his god-like power. There is no remorse. Just the rush of the endorphins as a life is brutally subordinated at the mere wave of his hand in response to nothing more substantial than a fleeting whim. And when the family cries out in horror, he and his fellow blue-clad accomplices are baffled and angry because they don’t have the equipment required to understand their reaction.

  40. #40 |  Carl Bussjaeger | 

    Nitwits, eh?

    I’ve been saying that for months.

    http://www.bussjaeger.org/standdown.html

    “C’mon, admit it. This clown got reported by his own father, set his underwear on fire, and got beat up by his fellow passengers. That’s funny. We shouldn’t be afraid of these nitwits; we should be watching their antics on YouTube.”

    And in the wake of the Times Square Talibani “engineer”, who didn’t know that the type of fertilizer makes a difference when building bombs, I stand by my words.

  41. #41 |  Mike T | 

    #37

    I would think that Christians everywhere believe in Satan’s ability to possess children.

    Why wouldn’t they? I mean, that’s how it works. You have a ‘god’, and you have a ‘devil’. You can’t believe in one without believing in the other. It says right in the Gospels that Jesus himself was tempted by Satan for over a month. It’s pretty straight forward, you believe in this shit or you don’t.

    The ability of Satan to possess children is not in dispute in the church. What is is the criteria these Africans are using. The behavior problems associated with possession are well-known and understood within the church, and they are all extremely abnormal (in that they are usually mind-numbingly irrational in their extremity) behaviors.

  42. #42 |  BSK | 

    In response to Balko’s comment about the comments on Africa, Cynical said:
    “Well, I didn’t. But African backwardness and American Christian backwardness can exist independently of each other, and deserve equal condemnation.”

    You are right. But the issue is people who look at a small group of backwards Africans and determine the whole continent is backwards while at the same time dismissing the backwards Americans as not really being representative of the rest of us. It’s a double-standard predicated upon white, western privilege. Both can and should be denounced. But lets denounce the ass backwardness of it and not the Africanness of it, as some so love to do.

  43. #43 |  Joe | 

    I do not see how Arizona gets over the pre-emption hurdles on citizenship, even if it manages to get over the 14th Amendment. The anchor baby issue should be dealt with seriously. While I like aspects of it, it is definitely subject to abuse.

    I would like to see this issue discussed rationally.

    Immigration is generally a good thing, when it is done with the goal of assimilation and making citizens of people. What most of us hate about illegal immigration is it creates a subclass of people who are discouraged from assimilation and are outside the system. Southern Border states are reacting to that condition. You also cannot open the flood gates to poor immigrants and allow them to qualify for benefits immeidately (without paying into the system first). That will end up destroying the systems financially and bankrupting the nation. We are doing that now with emergency medical services and schools on the local and state level and it will only get worse for social security and medicare and other federal services.

    You want to end illegal immigration? Allow private qui tam civil actions to fine employers who hire illegals. The fines and penalties need not be draconian, just high enough to encourage employers not to hire illegals. If such a law suit is filed and unsuccessful, the initiating party pays the employer’s fees and costs (make the plaintiffs get bonded and insured as a prerequist of suit). If the plaintiff is successful, it gets to split the fine with the government. The employer has the choice of paying the fine or fighting (and if the employer loses it pays the fine and the fees and cost). Call it the modern equivalent of privateers.

    Talk about a wedge issue between trial lawyers and the Democratic Party!

  44. #44 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #39 | Dave Krueger — “In terms of numbers, that’s true. But, when the animal shelter executes dogs, it’s because they have no choice.”

    Dave, I only demean the tragedy of puppycide by putting it side-by-side on a bar graph with shelters. You know I hold cops in utter contempt for their evil behavior. But I would like to point out that I once traveled through Utah and stopped at an animal rescue farm in Kanab, the name escapes me now. They save hundreds, if not thousands, of animals per year. Rather than State-run shelters, which of course are only going to treat the animals as waste to be disposed of, better that private charitable organizations fill the desperate need created by overbreeding of dogs and other animals. There is another way, and the magnitude of the killing screams for a solution other than State-run shelters.

  45. #45 |  Marty | 

    #19 | Big Texan | June 15th, 2010 at 10:41 am

    ‘…have shown me we are pretty much exactly like we were 500 years ago. Maybe a little more polish on the surface, due process and habeus corpus…’

    Bush and Obama have put a serious dent in habeus corpus. I think George the elder even advocated denying citizenship to non-believers… prohibition has pretty well pounded due process into submission…

    ugh.

  46. #46 |  Samk | 

    …I’m with Joe on this one…

  47. #47 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    I’m glad to see cruelty to animals is being taken seriously, but I bet that the forensics involved aren’t going to be any more carefully researched than forensics for crimes against humans.

  48. #48 |  Aresen | 

    @ Nancy Lebovitz | June 15th, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    In view of Dr Hayne, it’s hard to see how they could be less carefully researched.

  49. #49 |  Jim Collins | 

    “C’mon, admit it. This clown got reported by his own father, set his underwear on fire, and got beat up by his fellow passengers. That’s funny. We shouldn’t be afraid of these nitwits; we should be watching their antics on YouTube.”

    What if the bomb would have worked?

  50. #50 |  PW | 

    “But the issue is people who look at a small group of backwards Africans and determine the whole continent is backwards”

    The problem with that argument, BSK, is that it’s NOT just a “small group” in Africa. Quote: “By some estimates, about 40 percent of the cases in the Central African court system are witchcraft prosecutions. (Drug offenses in the U.S., by contrast, account for just 12 percent of arrests.)”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/06/hex-appeal/8103/

  51. #51 |  PW | 

    It should also be noted that when the witch lady from Nigeria came to Houston, she was denounced and ridiculed and only drew what that article described as a “small group” (at an all-Nigerian church, I might add – http://gloriouspraiseministry.org/about/ ). She had a similar response in London, where people picketed her outside.

    Now compare that to how she is received in Nigeria:

    “Last August, when she had herself consecrated Christendom’s first “lady apostle,” Nigerian politicians and Nollywood actors attended the ceremony.”

    As I said, it’s NOT just a “small group” that believes in this stuff in Africa.

  52. #52 |  BSK | 

    You’re 40% statistic is deliberately misleading. 40% of cases involving witchcraft does not mean that it’s not still a small minority. What percentage of AFRICANS, since you seem intent on branding the whole continent, genuinely believe what these con artists and lunatics are selling?

  53. #53 |  PW | 

    Here’s the full quote from the article, BSK:

    “By some estimates, about 40 percent of the cases in the Central African court system are witchcraft prosecutions. (Drug offenses in the U.S., by contrast, account for just 12 percent of arrests.) In Mbaiki—where Pygmies, who are known for bewitching each other, make up about a tenth of the population—witchcraft prosecutions exceed 50 percent of the case load, meaning that most alleged criminals there are suspected of doing things that Westerners generally regard as impossible.”

    Did you catch that? 40% of all criminal cases in the Central African Republic are for witchcraft, and in the Mbaiki region it exceeds 50%.

    It is difficult if not impossible to get full statistics for all of Africa (in part due to how dysfunctional most African governments simply are). But there is good reason to believe that the Central African Republic’s figures are typical for its neighbors in Central Africa, which have similarly high animist populations and similar laws on the books regarding witchcraft and sorcery. As the article puts it:

    “The classic study of witchcraft in Africa occurred among the Azande, who inhabit the eastern edge of the Central African Republic. The anthropologist Edward E. Evans-Pritchard found that the Azande attributed a staggering range of misfortunes—infected toes, collapsed granary roofs, even bad weather—to meddling by witches. Nothing happened by chance, only as an effect of spell-casting by a wicked interloper. That sentiment remains widespread among Central Africans, who demand that the law reflect the influence of witchcraft as they understand it.”

    As I said, it’s NOT just a “small group” that believes in this stuff in Africa.

  54. #54 |  PW | 

    Anecdotal evidence also suggests that the witchcraft fanaticism is common all over Africa, including in some of its most stable countries.

    - A 1996 government report from South Africa – the stablest country on the continent – reported that almost 150 people were murdered that year year for witchcraft and sorcery, and twice as many attacked or having their property vandalized.

    - A 1996 report from the Congo documented 40 witchcraft murders that year.

    - A 2009 Red Cross report documented 50 murders of Albinos in Tanzania since 2007, and a related survey by Pew indicated that an astounding 93% of Tanzanians believed in witchcraft.

    The full survey can be accessed online here (p. 178 for witchcraft question). It indicates that even in countries on the LOW end of the spectrum, 20% of the population still believes in witchcraft. Questions about belief in “evil spirits” and the use of sacrifices to prevent bad things from happening are similarly alarming, with many countries falling in the 40-60% range (p. 180).

    http://pewforum.org/uploadedFiles/Topics/Belief_and_Practices/sub-saharan-africa-topline.pdf

    As I said, it’s NOT just a “small group” that believes in this stuff in Africa.

  55. #55 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Jim Collins – Making things blow up on demand is HARD. More, making it not blow up before hand is harder. Just making things HOT is a lot easier, but that doesn’t really have the same effect – and terrorists so far have gone after people, rather than what is truly effective at causing policy change – the infrastructure.

    (You *can’t* defend it all without becoming a police state. Sewage works, substations, air traffic radar…heck, consider the consequences of deliberately spreading foot and mouth disease among cattle – the natural outbreak in the UK shut the countryside down for a summer! You don’t *need* to kill anyone, but the Jihadis go for flashy deaths instead)

    And even when you do things “right”, well, there’s always stuff like this: http://www.darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin1999-38.html

  56. #56 |  BSK | 

    From the Arizona article:
    “”If you go back to the original intent of the drafters … it was never intended to bestow citizenship upon (illegal) aliens,” said Kavanagh, who also supported Senate Bill 1070 — the law that gave Arizona authorities expanded immigration enforcement powers.”

    Two thoughts: Without the clarification by the writer, it appears that Kavanagh is simply talking about aliens. And I doubt Jefferson had much concern about Martians.

    More to the point, I’m pretty sure the original drafters of the document deliberately intended to turn a bunch of non-citizens directly into citizens, being that they were creating a brand new country. So, yea, I’m pretty sure their intent was to bestow citizenship upon non-citizens.

  57. #57 |  BSK | 

    PW-

    Wamp-wamp-wamp-wamp-wamp-wamp-wamp.

  58. #58 |  PW | 

    BSK -

    60% of South Africans believe in evil spirits
    55% of South Africans believe in witchcraft
    46% of South Africans believe in a spell-casting “evil eye”
    56% of South Africans believe in sacrifices to ancestor spirits for protection
    20% of South Africans believe in ju-jus to ward off evil spirits

    Similarly high percentages are evident throughout sub-saharan Africa.

    http://pewforum.org/uploadedFiles/Topics/Belief_and_Practices/sub-saharan-africa-topline.pdf

    As I said, it’s NOT just a “small group” that believes in this stuff in Africa.

  59. #59 |  BSK | 

    I think the river rafting situation is a bit more complicated than some other commenters have indicated, only because of the specific difficulties related to water rescues. There are many instances where a rescue situation can be made far more dangerous by people just jumping in to the water. They can often be dragged down if the victim is drowning, resulting in two people needing to be saved. So my guess is it is possible that is where the police are coming from in this matter (though the cynic in me just thinks they are jealous they were showed up). Ultimately, it’s still pretty ridiculous that they are considering going after this guy, being that he DID save the victim and, as such, in no way, shape, or form obstructed or jeopardized the rescue operation. If he did somehow get in the way of rescuers and lead to greater harm or even death, than I think there should be some accountability. Luckily, that wasn’t the case and this man should be celebrated.

  60. #60 |  Greg N. | 

    I’ve said it a million times: the American right-wing religious influence in Africa is the most dangerous trend around. There’s a cottage industry of American evangelicals exploiting Africans (mostly survivors of the Rwandan genocide) for their own gain, and spreading the most disgusting parts of their creed throughout the continent. It’s a very disturbing and dangerous trend, particularly because it’s so often sold under the color of moderate faith.

  61. #61 |  Jim Collins | 

    Leon,
    I understand what you are saying. I have a working knowledge of explosives. Enough knowledge that I am on a few Government lists. The problem is that we can’t afford to rely on the incompetence of terrorists.

  62. #62 |  Carl Bussjaeger | 

    “#49 | Jim Collins | June 15th, 2010 at 5:10 pm
    What if the bomb would have worked?”

    What if pigs could fly? What if the guy who wanted to hang on to his carry-on got it under the seat without pissing off the flight attendant? What if we had a government smart enough not to dispatch multimillion dollar jet fighters in response to luggage stowing disputes or a man with food poisoning? What if TSA were to magically become competent and trustworthy overnight? What if panicky, ignorant bureaucrats didn’t push for millimeter wave body scanners to detect PETN powder, which they can’t detect?

    PETN is a high explosive which requires the shock of another explosive to detonate. IF he and his handlers thought they’d found a way to “sensitize” PETN such that a match flame would induce detonation, you would expect NON-NITWITS to test it first. Clearly, they did not test, as the said nitwit incinerated his cojones.

    Or, if you refer to the Times Square “bomb”, it pretty much wasn’t. The nitwit stuffed the gun safe full of a nonexplosive fertilizer, not explosive petroleum-infused ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Nor did his propane tank assembly work, because propane isn’t explosive until you thoroughly mix it with air in proper proportions (a fuel-air-explosive). You can get it to explode by confining a poor FAE mix first, but you need gear the nitwit didn’t use. The best his rig MIGHT have done was burn his vehicle, and maybe scorch some nearby vehicles a little. Note that a car fire, rather than explosion, is precisely what tipped off people walking by.

    You may recall that shoe-bomber Reid failed to detonate his sneakers, too.

  63. #63 |  You! Slow Down! | 

    Police have no business being involved in swiftwater rescue in the first place. They should leave it to professionals like river guides who actually know what they are doing on the water.

  64. #64 |  JS | 

    Leon Wolfeson “You *can’t* defend it all without becoming a police state.”

    That’s the bottom line. Ultimately it comes down to safety or freedom and they can’t even guarantee our safety anyway. I’ll always remember President Bush looking in the camera and saying that we may just have to give up some of our freedoms for safety. Well fuck that, I’d rather die in a thousand 9-11′s.

  65. #65 |  BSK | 

    #63-

    Great point. In a situation like that, we should seek out the most qualified person who can most immediately offer genuine help. If that is a cop, so be it. If it’s a river guide, go with that. And anyone who gets in the way who couldn’t reasonably have helped the situation should get a swift kick in the junk (two if they’re a cop).

  66. #66 |  GT | 

    The link about William Kristol is not remotely surprising – he and his ilk are always gung-ho when it comes to sending the underclasses’ children off to kill brown children.

    Kristol is not only a complete fuckwit who has never been right about anything since the day he was shat, but he’s a coward to boot.

    How about a Constitutional Amendment: any pundit or political parasite who advocates for war should have one of their children executed in the event that belligerents kill so much as a single civilian (or damage infrastructure essential to civilian life).

    We have to do SOMETHING to stop parasitic vermin like Kristol from fomenting destruction simply in order to help pay for palaces for their cronies.

    Caedite Eos.

    Cheerio

    GT

  67. #67 |  Andrew Williams | 

    In re calling terrorists nitwits:
    Sorry, Atlantic, but SF writer Spider Robinson–via the Toronto Globe and Mail–beat you to it by, oh, almost 10 years. The essay in question is called “A Tale of Two Charlies,” and it’s in his collection entitled (appropriately enough) *The Crazy Years.*
    Also recommended reading–and the inspiration for Spider’s essay–is Dean Ing’s classic short story “Very Proper Charlies.”

    http://spiderrobinson.com/

    PS You might also drop Spider a word of condolence on his site, since his wife died two weeks ago.

  68. #68 |  adam | 

    Maybe, Scientology is on to something. Maybe, we should encourage other nutty religious movements to abort themselves.

  69. #69 |  BSK | 

    GT-

    You’re neglecting our country’s long held tradition of engaging in rich men’s wars and poor men’s fights. Sigh…

  70. #70 |  Carl Bussjaeger | 

    “#67 | Andrew Williams | June 16th, 2010 at 2:05 am
    Also recommended reading–and the inspiration for Spider’s essay–is Dean Ing’s classic short story “Very Proper Charlies.””

    I’d also throw in Ing’s novel, The Big Lifters. Several expendable, inept terrorists manipulated by a rather smart man to accomplish goals in a manner some might not think of. Good reading. (It also features a space launch concept that inspired an idea in my own novel, Net Assets; I liked his idea, but didn’t want to wait around for his technology to mature.)

  71. #71 |  Paul Vail | 

    Bill Kristol is in his 50′s, is he suppose to join the army? The failed war talk after 18 months of Obama is wearing a little thin. It’s talk like that, that makes me wonder about this sites orientation, is this a liberal site disguised as a libertarian site? Hope not, but it sounds like it might. You said it was Kristol’s war? Kristol is a writer/publisher he wasn’t Secretary of …OH WAIT, I get it… Kristol is a Jew, and is part of the Jewish plot to get American to bomb Iran, and the Mosad set up 9/11. Over educated younger gentiles hate Jews because they are jealous of the power they imagine they have.

  72. #72 |  MassHole | 

    Paul Vail: The Stupid. You haz it.

  73. #73 |  Radley Balko | 

    Goodbye, Paul Vail.

  74. #74 |  JS | 

    Thank you Radley! That was about a 3 day tour de force of titling at straw men.

    Now, where the hell’s Fluffy?

  75. #75 |  Marty | 

    #63 | You! Slow Down!

    ‘Police have no business being involved in swiftwater rescue in the first place. They should leave it to professionals like river guides who actually know what they are doing on the water.’

    so… ‘where do you find ‘professionals’ in subdivision flash floods? mass casualty incidents?

    I’m a rescue tech with a fire department- most water rescues resolve themselves before govt rescue ever arrives, BUT competent chains of command are what makes rescues run smoothly. Bystanders bust the chain of command. You create multiple victims, distractions, etc.

    Having said that, if I was on vacation and the rescuing entity wasn’t competent, I’d grab the girl.

    So, I’m a bit mixed on this.

  76. #76 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @#29 Dave,

    Although, I have to admit, since the U.S. apparently feels compelled to make enemies out of as many foreign powers as it possibly can, protecting Israel certainly makes that easier.

    Dave,
    I cannot believe you have anything less than unquestioning support for Israel. Surely, they will be kicking you out of America.

    It is time for Israel to stand on its own as a viable country. If it cannot, then everyone needs to do one of two things:
    1. Accept that the Brittish Mandate was moronic (it was) and move out.
    2. Make Israel the 51st state of America (because nothing makes sense these days, so why the hell not).

    Here’s a recipe for disaster: Invite 2 million Muslims to move into downtown Philly and take (by E.D.) all the land. No, this isn’t an exact analogy because how Israel was formed was even more offensive.

    Love Jews. Hate Israel. Not a hard concept.

  77. #77 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    •The case for calling terrorists nitwits.

    No way. We’ve spent a trillion dollars, killed hundreds of thousands of people, and taken away a long list of freedoms fighting these terrorists. If they aren’t brilliant, then our government has lied to us for their own gain.

    (cricket noise)

  78. #78 |  Marta Rose | 

    but GT, how do you really feel? ;-)

  79. #79 |  Marta Rose | 

    btw, am loving all the gay ads. or can only gay people see the gay ads? very colorful. ;-)

  80. #80 |  markm | 

    Marty: It sounds like the police tried to interfere with a rescue that was already in progress, for a half hour before they arrived.

  81. #81 |  markm | 

    They should have just re-printed “Very Proper Charlies”, with an afterword about such ineptness as the underwear bomber and suicide bombers who set themselves off with a group hug. For those unfamiliar with Dean Ing’s 1978 short story, his theory was that terrorism is publicity-seeking, therefore see that the only public recognition accorded to them is cruel laughter. One part of this plan was a new primetime TV show, with one of the great comedians playing an inept terrorist named “Charlie”. The other part was that the FCC commissioner persuaded the network news services to:

    1. Never name a terrorist or terrorist organization. They would all be called “Charlies”.

    2. Never give publicity to their goals.

    3. Always give a comic twist to reporting on terrorism. Example, a news report on an operation in which a terrorist shot a very young witness: “Why did the Charlie shoot a baby girl?” “She was almost three, she knew too much.”

    In the 70′s the funniest terrorism ever got was when Squeaky Fromm smuggled a pistol within easy range of the President, but apparently didn’t know how to release the safety. It’s so much easier to make fun of the underwear bomber. “Nah, he just wanted to try a wienie roast. With his own wienie.”

    But getting the media to cooperate these days???

  82. #82 |  markm | 

    As for the Scientology story, does being a church somehow exempt them from the law? I’m pretty sure a private employer that fired employees for becoming pregnant (or transferred them to a much less desirable job in a remote location) would violate at least the FMLA. The Sea Org is a monastic order in some ways, but celibacy is not a requirement of the organization, so I don’t see how they could claim a religious exemption for their ban on parenthood.

  83. #83 |  You! Slow Down! | 

    Marty – briefly, (and hopefully less flippant than the comment I posted last night before going to bed), cops have a tendency to want to “own” rescues and not share the glory with anyone else. This is simply a function of the authoritarian nature of their job. They are also not particularly qualified in that field. I mean we are talking about people here whose regular job is to arrest innocent pot smokers, and raise money for the State by extorting money out of motorists for minor traffic violations.

    As for where to find professionals for urban flood rescues the fire department is the most likely place, as rescue is part of their job to begin with, and CERT volunteers and others could certainly be trained in various rescue skills except there are too many entrenched powers that be who won’t allow it.

    In wilderness environments, most river guides I know of are trained in wilderness EMT, swiftwater rescue and other skills they may need. ICS (or whatever it is known as now) came out of western wildland fire management a

  84. #84 |  You! Slow Down! | 

    sorry…hit the wrong button too soon :) ICS seems to work for emergency management in general but if somebody is already on the scene who is already more familiar with the river than any cop will ever be, but the police take control over the scene and want to spend half an hour setting up ropes while a river guide is already there and knows what to do, I don’t see where they have any business taking over the chain of command.

  85. #85 |  Marty | 

    all good points, you!…

    I’ve seen breakdowns in ics and great incident commanders incorporate bystanders and non-standard resources into rescues. I try not to monday morning quarterback and second guess people, but this doesn’t sound good…

  86. #86 |  Bernard | 

    My only criticism of the Arizona legislation is that it doesn’t go far enough.

    If being the children of migrants makes your citizenship unconstitutional then, to ensure consistently, the bill should retrospectively strip citizenship from anyone in Arizona whose ancestors entered the US after indepedence. Those people were migrants (and almost all of whose legal status would be questionable if explored in the detail Arizona are going into) and so their children, grandchildren etc. are illegal aliens.

    The sad downside is that that would mean a good proportion of the Arizona state legislature needing to be marched out and deported immediately the bill is signed, but it’s a small price to pay for constitutional consistency.

  87. #87 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    JS@64 – I wasn’t really commenting on security theatre, I was commenting specifically on the impossibility of protecting a modern country’s basic infrastructure directly.

  88. #88 |  buzz | 

    “1) I didn’t know states could deny US citizenship.

    They can’t. That is one of the enumerated powers expressly given to Congress by the Constitution. Which makes this new proposed AZ law even more ridiculous than the first one.”

    Perhaps they feel that since Congress has blown off being restricted by the enumerated powers in the Constitution, the states can ignore it also. Why is either of them ridiculous? What would you suggest the folks living on the border do, if the feds refuse to do anything? And anyone who says this is part of anti-immigration, concedes the argument. Anti ILLEGAL immigration, yes.

  89. #89 |  Mark F. | 

    Children of foreign diplomats born in this country have never been granted U.S. citizenship auttimatically (they are not subject to the jurisdiction of the United States), so there’s no reason Congress can’t change the law to end automatic citizenship for anchor babies.

  90. #90 |  Tim | 

    Invite 2 million Muslims to move into downtown Philly and take (by E.D.) all the land.

    What did Philly do? I mean, we’re annoying sure, but well, at least let me know first so I can move.

Leave a Reply